Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Attention on Annuals - Part III

This is the third and final post in my series on annuals that I have grown here at Our Little Acre. I hope you'll try some of these in your own gardens this year!

Osteospermum 'Orange Symphony' - I bought the plants for these African Daisies a few years ago and have saved the seed each year. I've got 'Lemon Symphony' too.

Asclepias curassavica - This annual milkweed is the most vibrantly colored in the family and I would grow it for its beauty even if I didn't grow it for the Monarchs. Look closely and you can see the tiny Monarch caterpillars on this one. Like the other Asclepias, it forms seed pods and I save the seeds for the following year.

Ipomoea lobata - Known as Spanish Flag or Firecracker Vine, last summer was the first year I grew this. It vined up a maple tree that had come up volunteer through a rock pile and grew well in that shade! The leaves obviously show a deficiency or insect damage, but it bloomed beautifully all the same.

Cosmos sulphureus - Somehow, since I'd never grown these before, I misidentified them as marigolds due to their foliage similarity, but thanks to garden bloggers, saw the error of my ways. These are annuals that no garden should be without. They are so beautifully colorful and bloom non-stop with deadheading. I think they'd bloom non-stop even without deadheading. They are simply gorgeous.

Convolvulus tricolor 'Ensign Blue' - These morning glory relatives are not vining and produce the most vibrant color of blue you'll ever see. This is the plant that introduced me to the Gold Bug, a fascinating beetle. However, it will pepper the leaves with holes if you have any number of them, because this is one of their favorites.

Nigella damascena - Known as Love-In-A-Mist, the foliage is pretty, the blooms are pretty, and the seed pods are pretty. Its blooms are gorgeous in every detail and they will return year after year, because this is a vigorous self-seeder. I don't mind though.

Verbena bonariensis - I first learned of this butterfly magnet through garden blogs and decided to give it a try here. WOW! What a great plant! It's supposed to self-seed, but I saved seed as well, just in case.

Amaranthus 'Pygmy Torch' - This was a big lesson in the value of thinning your seedlings. When I first saw this coming up after direct seeding, I wanted to laugh. It was literally a burgundy carpet. As it grew, I thought about thinning, and well, just didn't. I know it's supposed to be a shorter variety, but not this short. Still, it was an attention-getter in the garden. It's hard to ignore a solid mass of this color, no matter how tall it is. And I have a feeling I won't need to plant it at all this year, if these are like other Amaranthus.

Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani's Original' - I'd never grown sweet peas before, but grew three different ones this past year. This particular cultivar is the one from which all other cultivars were developed. They were grown in the late 17th century and were named for a Sicilian monk. The combination of color shades is one of my favorites and the fragrance is nice. It's a heavy bloomer, especially if you keep it deadheaded and it produces lots of seed pods. I'm definitely growing it again next year.

Did you see anything you might like to grow in your gardens this year? These proved to be easy for me, unlike some other annuals that I've had difficulty growing well or even at all. That will be saved for another post.

What annuals have you grown that you liked and would grow again?


Gardeness said...

You have some awesome color going on. I really enjoyed the African daisy and the cosmos. The pygmy torch looks brilliant, too. I've never harvested seeds from anything but columbine, is it difficult from the daisy?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have so enjoyed your annual display Kylee. It makes me wish I could get out there and start planting.

I also like your new header.

Cathy S. said...

Such a beautiful selection of
Annuals you have, makes you feel
like spring is coming real soon :)

Priscilla George said...

I love these posts. What great annuals. I have Osteospurmum seeds of 'African Moon' which has apricot tips that fade to a bright white in the middle. Just gorgeous, I love the Osteospurmum even though I have never been a fan of the daisy shape.
The Spanish Vine is gorgeous I've been wanting to try that out! Love-in-a-mist is beautiful such an airy texture and beautiful blue blooms. I have seeds to plant this year. The Amaranthus looks so interesting.

Jan said...

I've very much enjoyed your posts, (I still need to read the first one!)but you amaze me with all of these annuals! How do you plant these seeds? Are some of these growing now inside? I think I prefer to just start mine outside. I suppose I need to start doing some research now, and buying some of these seeds! I've never even thought about any of these! Thanks so much Kylee:)

Unknown said...

Oh my GOODNESS, that milkweed is gorgeous. Must. Have. Some. I don't grow a lot of annuals from seed anymore (or haven't for several years) but I buy interesting ones to put in my containers. I'll put a post of them up soon. Meanwhile, you're inspiring me!As usual....

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed this series on your annuals, Kylee, and I'm so impressed by the variety of plants you grow. It's like a breath of spring to see all that color on such a dull, snow-weary day. :) My Dad grew a lot of these from seed when he had his greenhouse up and running, but some are new to me, too.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I do love the love in a mist. I planted a couple several years ago, and they have multiplied like crazy.
The verbena you show is a perennial here. It also self sow. I just love it, and let it pop up pretty much wherever it wants.

Kylee Baumle said...

Gardeness ~ No, not difficult. Collecting seeds from African daisies is really no different than any other like annual. Wait until they dry, then collect the seeds from the center.

Lisa ~ I am SO with you on that, Lisa! Doesn't this give you a feeling of deja vu? We were anxious for winter to end last year about this time, too. It seemed like it could go on forever, didn't it?

Cathy ~ Oh, I wish it was!

Vanillalotus ~ Ooooh, your 'African Moon' sounds just beautiful. I'll have to investigate that. I do love the daisy shape, which is probably why I love Osteospermums.
The Spanish Flag was grown from seeds I had in a packet from two years before. I wondered if the germination would be decent, and it was.

Jan ~ There were a couple of those I pictured that were winter sown, but almost all of them were direct sown after last frost date, which is somewhere after the middle of May here. I'm not winter sowing this year, because I've had great success with direct sowing. Only one year did I start things inside, and then it was tomatoes and morning glories in peat pots. I've started other things, but my big problem doing that is damping off. I'd rather not mess with all of that.

jodi ~ My reaction the first time I saw the A. curassavica was the same as yours. I HAD to have it. I will probably always grow some annuals from seed, since I've had such good luck from doing it, so far. I get a big thrill of seeing the little seedlings breaking ground and growing so fast to become flowers.

Nancy ~ I like to try new things. Can you tell? ;-) And boy, would I love to have a greenhouse!

Catherine ~ Yes, I think Love-in-a-Mist is one of those that you'd better be sure you like, because it's going to come up year after year after year! I'm one that just loves it.
I'm glad to hear that the verbena self-sows so easily. It's a great plant, isn't it?

lisa winter said...

these pictures are gorgeous. especially the milkweed. i'll have to start some annuals this year, mostly grow perennials. anyway, lovely blog.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog this evening while googling Meconopsis (yeah, I'll kill them, if I can even get them to germinate.. but... they're BLUE! So I have to try...) and I love it! As I read through, I had to laugh at the comments about the seed catalogs in January, and seed ordering... that's exactly where I am now. I just placed a few orders for seeds (annuals and perennials)and I know I purchased far more than I can reasonably plant. I know I'll kill most (I'm a pro at damping-off... if only my greenhouse wasn't a shade house) but I just can't seem to resist those pictures in the catalogs.

I make my lists... add things, delete others and keep redoing them until finally I order. Now that I just read your annuals page, sadly I see that I left off a couple that I really needed (the Love in a Mist and the Cosmos sulphureus) I guess another order won't hurt....

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Kylee,
I don't remember if I commented on your other posts on annuals, so I'll have to go check.

I've had some trouble getting nigella to self sew. I had a friend give me some seedlings, which took awhile to decide to grow and bloom. I went ahead and planted some seeds the first week of June, even though it was a bit late. I was so tickled that they all bloomed well. I think there were plenty of seeds left for them to grow this year.

I've had that verbena on a stick for 10 years. I'm thinking it's not one of the first plants that comes up here in Nebraska, so wait a bit before deciding to plant more.

I have some sweet pea seeds to plant. I grow a bunch of other annuals, too. I'll have to post on them, too.

Katie said...

Kylee - I have absolutely adored this series of posts. It is like a who's-who list of annuals I want to grow! Thank you for taking the time to share the summer beauty with us in mid-winter.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, so many good ideas to try Kylee. I definitely added Nigella to my list, and others will soon join in!

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos!!! I've grown the cosmos, nigella, and Cupani sweet peas from seed. I grow the asclepias but haven't tried growing it from seed. However, it is dead easy to root from cuttings.

Other flowers I grow from seed are larkspur, bluebonnets, baby blue eyes, California poppies, cilantro, sunflowers, false dayflowers, cardinal vine, and cornflowers.

F Cameron said...

Kylee --- this has been my favorite series! What a wonderful, colorful and informative set of stories.


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